Extraordinary Power of Praise | Week 6

Congratulations on completing The Extraordinary Power of Praise at the womens Bible Cafe. During our time together, I enjoyed the free expression of worship and emotion. It was refreshing to see our faith from this viewpoint.

At the end of the study book, Becky Harling summarizes practices to strengthen your spiritual journey. My favorites include Sitting before the Lord, journaling prayers, raising hands in worship, dancing before the Lord, and praying Scripture back. But I still need to develop gratitude, one thousand gifts list, and read a Psalm aloud each day. I’d like to develop SPEAKING the Word, not just reading it daily. So I will read the Scriptures aloud and not just in my heart as I do now.

When we are happy and joy-filled, we radiate the love and light of Jesus. It’s a victory dance, a song of worship, and a reminder of our faith. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel. Psalms 68:26 NIV

Words bring life or death. Worship together brings life to the congregation

What is the alternative to praise? The songs of anger, fear, sadness, or victims. When I sing praises to my Lord, I am changing the status of my heart. I am changing the strength in my mind. I am shifting the atmosphere around me the with the power and blood of Christ -in me.

The Bible isn’t “Jesus in a box, take Him out once a year for Christmas.” If you have studied beside me for these many years, the Bible is a Living Word, with Christ in you, 365 days.

Becky Harling writes, “Eternity starts now. Make it your practice to live now as you will then.”

Sing a song for Jesus!

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.

Extraordinary Power of Praise | Week 5

Welcome to the Bible Cafe™ as we study Extraordinary Power of Praise by Becky Harling. This week we studied three principles of joy: God has rescued us, restored us, and renewed us. Which one have you experienced most recently?

After the long pandemic, I feel that God has restored us. Many people questioned their life, their relationships, and the things they valued. When the way of attending church, dining out, and getting children to school changed- the world was looking for answers.  What do we need and value? God carried us through faith and love.

Becky Harling encourages us to keep a gratitude journal and record three things at the end of each day. I am thankful for the opportunity to grow in wisdom, study the Bible, and fellowship with YOU at the Bible Cafe.

Jesus came to earth and experienced human emotion. A few times we see His humor in the Scriptures. So laughing like the children of God…when appropriate and in joy…is a beautiful way to worship Him.

According to Becky Harling, “Gratitude releases a tsunami of joy in our souls.”  And so, I express joy with my hands in worship, UP! Also with dancing, smiling, and words of thanks to the Lord.

MY worship is VERY spontaneous…anytime, anywhere. Once I was in the car with the sunroof open and my hands were UP through the roof. At home, I worship in the garden, in the kitchen, in my office, and my living room.

God transforms “anxiety into joy?” I like using the pressure cooker metaphor. When I am not releasing my fears and anxieties to the Lord, they build up, and eventually, the lid comes off. Giving my worries to the Lord through prayer helps release that steam.

The Lord is my satisfaction, the fullness of my joy. He satisfies me when I study and listen to His Word. Worship music changes the atmosphere and frequency of sounds around me, so I am more aware of Him and less aware of worldview opinions and fears. 

Praise the Lord.  Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people. Psalm 149:1 NIV

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.

Extraordinary Power of Praise | Week 4

Womens online Bible study for the Extraordinary Power of Praise– join us! This week Becky Harling writes, “If you want to be a contented person you need to stop comparing.” When we compare, we are measuring and looking for someone’s failures, not just their success. It hinders our growth to judge others. When we compare, we set a standard based on human measures and miss the goal the Lord has set before us. Measure yourself against the Holy Bible, not people.

What feelings are stirred up by comparison? Discontentment! What if for 100 days, you asked the Lord to remove ALL discontentment! from your life? What would that look like? Pray on it. What if for the next 100 days, you prayed, “Father forgive my discontentment” Use a gratitude journey and count YOUR blessings…not “hers”

In Psalm 23:2-3 David makes four promises about how the Lord takes care of His sheep.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:2-3 NKJV

The four promises of Psalm 23 are reminders to seek contentment with God. Not people, food, or addictions.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not very content at all and 10 being completely content, how would you rate your contentment at this point? When Jesus is near, I am a 10 on my contentment scale. When I don’t make room for Him or don’t listen, or don’t steward His Word, I quickly fall to a 1 on my scale. Remember DO NOT compare. You are different from me, and I am different from you. Our measuring scales are not the same. Give your discontentment to God. Let Him remind you of the blessings and goodness in your life.

As I thought about modern idols this week, I thought of an “offering” plate. If we offered up our idols to God, what would that look like today Where I live, some of the idols I see around me are identities, social issues, politics, fashion, celebrities, Instagram, food, and addictions? In this area, success is defined by cars, homes, or vacations.  As we all know…we cannot take our idols into heaven, They are not treasures. Knowing this, should we compare ourselves to anything here on Earth?

Comparing leads to competition. Then we chase things we never wanted in the first place. Or things we cannot afford. Or things that do not bring satisfaction.

Read Psalm 63:5. What do you think it means for the Lord to completely satisfy your soul? “You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.” Psalm 63:5 NLT

Scheduled appointments with God on your calendar. Make room for Him and satisfy your soul.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.

Extraordinary Power of Praise | Week 3

It’s great to see you at the Bible Study Cafe™ where we study, connect, and grow.  As we learned in Extraordinary Power of Praise, Becky Harling has a “weeping couch” in her home. It is the place where she pours out her heart to the Lord. I pour out my heart to the Lord in my office with a distressed and worn leather chair. It feels safe and I enjoy the solitude with Him. Sometimes I get up at 3 am to pray. The morning darkness is very still and peace-filled.

We talked about this last week at the Bible Cafe University via Zoom. Some of us were raised to be “seen but not heard.” So we learned NOT to express emotions, good or bad. Weeping and anger were not tolerated in our childhood homes.

Then I meet Jesus inside my heart, and through the Bible Psalms, I learned it’s OKAY not to be okay! It’s okay to feel anger when I give that over to God for healing. It’s okay to feel sadness when I give that over to God for healing. Its OKAY!!

If you create a prayer closet, weeping room, or sanctuary in your home what would it look like? What necessities would you put there? I would have my Bible, verses for specific themes, instrumental music, a box of tissue, and a place to write down my thoughts.

Some of my friends like to wear a mantle or shawl when they pray. And some of my friends like to have a candle or essential oils when they pray.

At the Sunday sermon yesterday, my pastor said do NOT bring digital Bibles when you are spending prayer time with God. Use a PRINT Bible because tablets and phones interrupt you.

According to Becky Harling, a lament is a prayer to God where we vocalize our protests and ask “Where are you, God?” and “Why did you allow this?” How do you feel about lamenting prayers? While I understand the value in this, I don’t ask “Where are you God” because I am 100% certain He is beside me. Always.

Rarely and on extreme occasions (like when two family members died the same week) I will ask “Why?” and it seems He gives an immediate and comforting answer!

I think it’s good that the Bible instructs the value of lamenting, and removes the Pharisee from the conversation. It’s OKAY to lament, as long as it leads us towards (not away) from the heart of God. If we are falling away, we need to connect with a local church pastor or counselor for help and “talk it out” with a wise person.

Lamenting should never be an excuse for a month-long pity party! If we do that, we have invited the enemy of God to the banquet table. And, Lamenting and grieving are not the same things. Don’t confuse them.

According to Psalm 3, we can worship through anger by lamenting, praying, yielding, and looking for the heart of Jesus. Not the person or things that make you angry. In Psalms, we see this demonstrated many times. First the lament, then the praise. We don’t see David or Moses “stuffing” the emotions.

But if anyone feels their anger is beyond repair…go see a counselor and work it out in a safe place! You were not fearfully and wonderfully designed for a life of constant anger. Read your Bible and you will know the Truth…. seek wisdom from a professional who can help you rid yourself of lingering anger. It’s NOT yours to carry.

The way we process emotions might be rooted in childhood, environment, and culture. By reading Psalms, we are instructed HOW to process emotions through God’s Word.

Reading Proverbs 29:11, which one are you, the fool or the wise?

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11 NIV

In Psalm 51:12 David asks the Lord to restore joy. What Fruit of the Spirit do you need to be restored in your life?

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. (NLT)

Pray and ask God’s will over your life. Seek the Fruit of the Spirit.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.

Extraordinary Power of Praise | Week 2

The Extraordinary Power of Praise Bible study is helping us understand the Holy Bible. Are you enjoying the Bible Cafe study and lessons as we study, connect, and grow? According to Becky Harling, “Waiting is a foundational spiritual discipline for the believer.” Like Becky, I believe waiting strengthens our souls.

Waiting strengthens my spiritual muscles. If everything was given without the WAIT then I might mistake God for the genie in the bottle. He is God, He is patient, He is instructional, and He is caring. When I am waiting, I see more of God and less of me. A beautiful relationship and experience.

Last week I shared the verse I wear on a silver necklace. A reminder to Be still and wait for God. The world wants quick answers. I want God’s will and I will wait for Him.

Biblical trust is when I put my anxieties, fears, and uncertainties into the palm of Our Father. Because I have no worries about what He is capable of doing with them!! It is a personal surrender to His will instead of mine. When He commands a defense, I defend. When He commands an offensive move, I act upon that in trust. As David does with Goliath, the trust is in God’s strength and His will.

In God I trust. In God, I trust again. In God, I trust forever.

In God is my strength. In God is my hope. God is my identity. God is my future. God has never failed me.

The Bible says: But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalms 13:5-6 NIV

Here we see that David’s confidence was not from his job description, army, family, wealth, or friends. He had 100% confidence in God because David KNEW God and had a relationship with Him. That…is wisdom.

In the waiting season, we are often tempted to doubt the goodness of God.  And so, I have personally turned OFF the news in the waiting seasons. Why? It’s full of fear. When I am waiting God says “Do not fear.” He says “Trust Me.” When I listen to anyone or anything other than God, I might waver in my courage.

Just like Becky Harling, I PRAISE in the waiting season. I witness faith, hope, and love. That is the calling of a disciple.

According to Psalm 66:10-12, we are being “refined like silver.”

For you, God tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. Psalms 66:10-11 NIV

When I am refined, it feels like I have been tested over and over again. While I would not volunteer for any of those tests, all of them did refine my faith, hope, and love for God.

When we are tested we show God our weakness. He already knows our weaknesses. Like King David and Bathsheba. After God reveals our weaknesses, He points us in the direction of His Word for healing, strength, and character development. He cuts away the fruits of the flesh and makes way for the Fruit of the Spirit.

Waiting strengthens a heart of worship and praise. Our human nature is to grumble and play the victim when we are waiting for God’s answer. Spiritual waiting can lead us to our Bibles, to prayer, praise, and fellowship with righteous people.

This week we looked at three postures of waiting: kneel in trust, raise your hands in praise, and roll your burden to God. Sometimes I forget to raise my hands in praise. Sure, I listen to worship music and sing when I am waiting. But the POSTURE of praise… needs to become more consistent and not just a “church activity.” I can do this at home too.

Being still is a spiritual discipline. Being busy – with our mouths- is an earthly practice. You choose!

Being still is not disobedience to God. We are still when He says to be still. We are moving when He says to move. PUT on the Armor of God….when He initiates. Be still, when He initiates stillness.

According to Becky Harling: “Meekness is not weakness. It is strength under fire.”

I choose strength.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.